Alex Yee: Leeds win took me to Olympic silver in triathlon

Alex Yee
Yee is ninth in the Triathlon World Championship standings ahead of this weekend’s event in Leeds
Place: Roundhay Park, Leeds Date: June 11-12 Time: Sat: Men’s Sprint: 13:49 BST, Women’s Sprint: 15:29 BST; Sun: Mixed Relay: 12:52 BST
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Alex Yee from the UK says his victory at last year’s World Triathlon Series event in Leeds fueled his run for Olympic silver in Tokyo two months later.

The Roundhay Park win in 2021 was Yee’s first World Series success.

“Having Leeds as my last race beforehand has definitely given me some momentum for the Olympics,” the 24-year-old told BBC Sport ahead of this weekend’s race in Yorkshire.

“It was a very special moment and it helped me to believe in what I was doing.”

Yee has also competed in high-level athletics, running at the European Championships and the Anniversary Games, but is now focused on triathlon.

He returns to Leeds for this weekend’s edition with victory at the opening of the 2022 World Series in Yokohama in May.

However, he says last year’s race in Leeds helped instill the belief that he could master all three disciplines of the sport.

“There was a belief factor in that. It was the first race where I had a good race in all three disciplines that I didn’t feel I had done before,” he added.

“Apparently my dad was crying and I’ve never seen him cry in my life! Proud parents are the coolest things ever, it was one of the biggest motivators for me.”

To go from a first World Series win for second place at the Olympics in the space of a summer would satisfy most, but Yee says she couldn’t resist wondering what could have happened in Tokyo.

He led much of the final 10km stage before Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt broke away to claim gold.

“That day he was the best athlete we’ve seen in the last five years,” Yee said of his rival. “I’ve never seen anything like his last mile, the way he got away from me was amazing. It was amazing, congratulations to him.

“Silver was amazing, but there was something about sitting next to Christian – he did a really good job of making the gold medal look amazing compared to silver. I was like, ‘Man, I really want one of these.’

Five days later, Yee won her own Olympic gold.

Joining Jess Learmonth, Jonny Brownlee and Georgia Taylor-Brown, Yee anchored Great Britain for mixed relay gold in the event’s Olympic debut.

Alex Yee
Yee is greeted by his teammates at the end of the mixed relay in Tokyo

The mixed relay will make its first appearance in Leeds this weekend, spearheading Sunday’s action after Yee, Taylor-Brown and Brownlee compete in Saturday’s individual races.

“It was really special,” Yee recalls of the success of the Olympic relay.

“Many times we tried this setup and we didn’t get it right, so the Olympics was the first time we did it. It was such an honor to bring it home. The first three guys did such an amazing job that anything less than gold would have been an injustice. .”

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